How to control blog comment spam? Comment management is a vital part of running your website. However, before you can manage something, you need to know a little bit about it. Let us take a look at comment spam more closely to learn a little about it.
What is Comment Spam and Why It's a Problem
Comment spam can come in many forms, and the spam bot is the leading culprit. These little robots trawl the internet and leave randomly generated comments, with links, on as many websites as possible.
These are often connected to sites that deal with illicit products. They use Markov Generators and massive computing power to fill up comment sections around the web. A Markov Generator is a fancy term for software that rewrites already written words (usually very badly). These are easy to spot and shoot down.
Trackback and pingback spam can be far worse since they require a bit more work to spot and root out. A pingback is a modern system that alerts your blog whenever someone links to an article you've written. It happens automatically and is considered the default method of trading links across blogs.
Trackbacks are more old-school. It is a legacy system that can be used on all blogs, which helps if linking (or getting a link from) someone who does not use WordPress. Trackbacks have to be created manually, and they are quite a time consuming - you can find out how by going to the official WordPress site.
Simple Tips on Identifying Blog Comment Spam
The first step in how to control blog comment spam is recognizing it. This is a relatively simple process once you learn the signs. The first is a personal experience. We have all been on the internet a good, long time. So we have naturally become accustomed to spam.
If a comment looks out of place, it is most likely spam. Gut feeling is a great way to get started without knowing any details whatsoever. However, it can also lead to false positives with spammers who know their stuff. That is why there are a few more signs you need to know.
Look at the email/s
One is seeing if the same comment author is using different email addresses. It is almost certainly a sign that it is a spam account that is using a bot to post. The email not being legitimate is another sign tied to this. If they have the same name but use emails such as [email protected] or [email protected] then you can count on the comment being spam.
Names and specificity matter
Another tell-tale sign is the author name being a keyword. Only spambots will use keywords as names as that is a classic trick and is a massive red flag. Another red flag is specificity. If the comment can be applied to any post on your site (or on the web at large), then it might just be spam. Don't be fooled by the "Nice work!~ Liek it lots" mini comments. While admirable, they need to be looked at closely (unless it's a regular to your comments section).
How To Control Blog Comment Spam: Why bother?
The question now follows - why bother dealing with comment spam? There are a few reasons, and it's best to look at them through a real-life example. Imagine your website is a house. You are looking to sell the house and put it on the market.
Google the realtor
Google is the most prominent realtor in your area - so they are going to sell your house. Comment spam is like overgrown grass, weeds and mould in the kitchen. If the realtor notices that your house is in bad shape, it will be worthless. If it's worthless, then they won't try so hard to push it to home buyers. Comment spam gives you "bad links" and those bad links are a punishable offence by Google.
Comment section drive-by
Take into consideration how your website might seem to your visitors. Let's continue with the house selling story… you look at a house online and go to drive past it. The online pictures looked good, but when you get there, things are different. Paint peeling off the walls, a crooked fence, and weeds in the garden that would take a lot of money to remove. When someone comes to your website and wants to comment, they won't if they see too much spam. This can make people wary and trust your website less in the future. There is no shortage of websites out there - so losing a visitor can be disastrous in the long run. It's something that everyone avoids at all costs, and that entails good comment management.
Comment Management: The Deep Dive
Get a Third Party System
If you don't want to be bothered with managing comments yourself, then try using a third-party system. These usually have excellent spam control, but take some effort to integrate with your website.
You have come across them many times - most notably the Facebook comments at the bottom of articles online. There are more services that you can use. These include Disqus and Commento among many others. The problem with using a third-party service is simple. You don't have control. What you gain in time, you lose in viewer control. Plainly put - your visitors are not yours if you use a service that can redirect from your site at will. The choice is yours, but it can be painful to undo down the road.
Plugin: How to control blog comment spam
This is the method most people use to manage the incoming spam on their comments. The reason is simple - the most popular plugin comes preinstalled with every WordPress website. When you have a fresh WordPress install, you will notice that you have Akismet. This is a nifty plugin that you can use to control the influx of spam in your comment section.
Akismet is free for personal use, but you can use it for your business page for only $10 a month. It is the de-facto plugin for dealing with spammy comments and has comprehensive support for coders though it's API. If you are looking for a plugin, you need this one and no other.
Play with WordPress Settings
There are numerous settings in WordPress that will help you easily control spam in your comment section. The first setting that many enable comments on moderation. Nothing goes through without prior say so. It can be tedious to wade through all those comments, though.
You can also restrict commenting to registered users. If your site has a member's section, then this is perfect. It will show that you have a thriving community, as well as cut down on the bad comments.
Limiting the number of links in your comments is yet another setting you can use. This setting uses the moderation tool to full effect. If anyone posts more than your allowed links, it goes to moderation—no more auto-posted spam.
Bigger Problems require better solutions
If you have a larger number of websites, then you will have more problems with spam. It can quickly become unmanageable. However, WP Blazer does contain many useful tools to help you.
There is a comment management tool that helps you keep tabs on all your websites. It is a powerful tool, for when your website empire starts growing. WP Blazer is full of useful tools to help you automate the boring stuff such as mass WordPress backup monitoring. There is no reason to do anything manually, as that time is lost. It is time you could have spent on running your business.
Tools are there to be used to maximize your time. Your time should be yours to do with as you see fit. Work on your business, not on fighting spammers. Spend time with your family, not on mundane tasks that can be automated.
Use every tool available, and your time will be yours.